Combined Heat and Power Plant serves lab campus
Since June 2016, Argonne’s new Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant has been supplying electricity and steam heat for the lab campus. Powered by natural gas, the 6.3-megawatt cogeneration facility has already begun to garner savings and improve the lab’s ecological profile.
Building the CHP has enabled Argonne to decommission a boiler in the lab’s original steam plant, a facility erected from the 1940s through the 1960s.
The project was funded through a multimillion-dollar Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) — an arrangement that uses third-party financing for construction with energy savings from the plant to offset construction costs. Financing was provided through a 15-year contract with energy-services company NORESCO and through a $2 million grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
According to ESPC Project Director John Busch (IS), CHP helps the lab achieve some long-term goals. “When traditional power suppliers burn gas or coal to generate electricity, the generated heat is a waste byproduct. At Argonne, we burn gas for our steam system. CHP combines both processes: electricity and steam. Heat from electricity production is captured and used to offset some of the gas that otherwise would have been burned for steam production. This will result in reduced reliance on the electric grid and an annual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of over 24,000 tons.”
On-site production of electricity from the same plant that produces steam is new at Argonne, adds Facilities Engineer John Daum (IS). “It means we buy 6.3 megawatts less from our supplier, which saves on both capacity and transmission charges.”
On the environmental side, Argonne also gets credit towards its sustainability goals for the 6.3-megawatt reduction in off-site electricity generation, transmission and distribution. “In other words,” Daum says, “when we can generate some of our own power, the benefits are compounded.”
In addition to Busch and Daum, the CHP team includes Chris Jablonski (IS), Engineer; George Paliulionis, Federal Project Director, DOE; Sean Seamon, Contracting Officer, DOE; Chicago; Gene Ulas (IS), Operations Supervisor; and Rebecca Yassan (IS), Project Manager.
Earlier, the U.S. Department of Energy recognized Argonne with its 2014 Sustainability Award for the lab’s efforts towards meeting federal goals in energy performance contracting.
For more information about the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s role in this project, contact Paul Pierre-Louis at (312) 814-3630.
Top photo: The newly constructed, energy-efficient CHP (foreground) is dwarfed by the 1940s-era steam plant (background).
By Kathryn Jandeska